The Zen of Content Marketing

23 SHARES

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”

~ Ben Franklin

Zen of Content Marketing

Marketing has always been Content Marketing.

When has marketing ever NOT involved some form of content?

How would it even be possible to market without content?

Word of mouth?

Telephone book ads?

The sign in front of your shop?  

That’s all content.  Even if the only piece of information passed is the name of your business…

…that’s content.

Think about those clever construction companies that figured out that consumers always start searching the telephone book at the letter “A”, so they named their business A1 General Contracting LLC so they would show up first in the listings…

That contractor whether he realized it or not was a content marketer… Creating content in a way that got his business found and his phone to ring.

Marketing has always been Content Marketing | Tweet this

Content marketing is what we’ve always done…

…yet for some reason today it’s a buzzword.

I mean, Copyblogger has been talking about content marketing for 7 years.   That seems like a long time…

…but weren’t all those “Mad Men” era marketers using content to tell their clients story as well?

Heck yes they were.

So if content marketing has been around for, let’s just say a while, why has content marketing become a buzzword today?

Because today’s technology affords the “little guy” access to the same market of customers as the “big guys.”

Today, my little New York insurance agency of 15 employees can compete with super-regional agencies generating 100 times the revenue…

See content marketing was only cool back in the “Mad Men” era to the Fortune 500 giants that could pay the fees of slick NYC marketing firms.

Today, Marcus Sheridan can use content marketing and turn a failing pool business into the #1 fiberglass pool distributor in the country.

The Zen of Content Marketing…

…is that it levels the playing field.

I’m in the insurance business…

When you’re in the insurance business you meet a lot of Real Estate professionals.  Anyone that’s ever spent any amount of time with a Real Estate agent knows the saying, “location, location, location.”

In Real Estate success is derived from your ability to accumulate listings with highly sought after, prime locations.  Home buyers WANT to live at the best location they can afford.

Want… not need…  WANT to live at the best location they can afford.

Content, Content, Content Marketing

When it comes to marketing your business online success is derived from producing and/or curating highly sought after, prime content within your industry.

Because…

…consumers  WANT to do business with the most highly sought after, prime purveyors of whatever it is you sell and your content is what draws them in.

there are many different factors to consider when attempting to generate search traffic to your website/blog…

  • SEO
  • Frequency of content
  • Age of content
  • Social sharing
  • Authority
  • Network
  • Email list size

…but if you really want to show up high in Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engine rankings  it all comes back to quality content.

Don’t believe me?

The following is a paragraph directly from the Google Search Engine Optimization Starter’s Guide (which you should read):

“Interesting sites will increase their recognition on their own. Creating compelling and useful content will likely influence your website more than any of the other factors discussed here.  Users know good content when they see it and will likely want to direct other users to it. This could be through blog posts, social media services, email, forums, or other means. Organic or word-of-mouth buzz is what helps build your site’s reputation with both users and Google, and it rarely comes without quality content.”

Your Clients Want Quality Content

If you are like most small business professionals, most people in general I guess, you are probably not an accomplished writer.

I know I certainly am not.

But I can boast publishing over 160 posts on this blog in just over a year and over 150 posts on my insurance agency website in two years.

Sometimes the posts are good, sometimes they’re just ehhh…

…but the content is always there… new, fresh, original content created specifically for each audience, designed to educate and inspire.

The point is our clients demand quality content from us.   Let me put that another way, our clients demand quality content and they’re either getting it from us through our content marketing efforts… or they’re getting it from our competitors.

Let’s go back to The Zen of Content Marketing…

…which is it levels the playing field.

In today’s market, content marketing has never been more affordable.  Ten years ago small business didn’t consider content marketing because the cost of telling your story, in that business landscape, was astronomical.

I mean geez, a 3o second radio spot costs what? A couple grand, on a radio station worth being on.

How are you supposed to build rapport, deliver your value proposition and add a call-to-action in 30 seconds?

I’m sure there are marketers out there that can convert in that time frame but we’re talking about the average small business…

I don’t think most small businesses could create consistent ROI from content marketing 10 years ago.  So content marketing never even entered their mind… and that’s OK… or at least it was 10 years ago.

Content Marketing Today

Today content marketing is a buzzword.

Content marketing is a buzzword because the barrier to entry is so low.

Everyone with a computer and a couple hundred bucks (like seriously less than $200) can begin a rapport building, value proposition explaining, call-to-action rich content marketing campaign that strategics targets margin-building clients.

Everyone.

You need a blog with WordPress (try Bluehost or WPEngine) and…

a nice looking design (for beginners I’d start with the Genesis Framework).

That’s it.

You can now create blog posts (written content) that…

…tells the story of your business,

…explain the services your office,

…educate prospects on your products,

…develop relationships,

…describe what it’s like to do business with you,

…show people how to begin working with your business.

I’ve had a lot of success with video content as well (read about my video blogging experiment) but text based blog posts are the best place to start.

The Zen of Content Marketing…

…is that it levels the playing field.

So if marketing has always been content marketing and content marketing levels the playing field for small business to compete with their larger competition…

How do we win?

We create better content.

I’m not talking about professionally edited copywriting or Hollywood produced video.

I”m talking about creating content around what really matters to the people in your town, that buy your product, that only a boots-on-the-ground foot soldier living their business every day would be able to create.

  • Raw testimonials of real clients in your shop
  • Pictures of what you do or sell in action
  • Copy written in the words people who buy your product use

Corporate isn’t cool anymore.

Real is.

Your business is real and it’s content derived from your real business that people want to consume when choosing who do business with.

Still worried you don’t know what you’re doing?

Sign up for the Scribe Content Library.  It’s four free eBooks about how create amazing content.  

I’ve read the first two and they’re both awesome.  So awesome I actually now subscribe to the paid Scribe content marketing software (which I also love).

But you don’t need to buy the service to get the eBooks.  The eBooks are gangster.

The Content Marketing Rub

The rub is simply this…

The barriers to small business utilizing content marketing have come down and it’s time to take advantage.

By consistently creating content that builds rapport, establishes your value proposition and delivers a call-to-action…

Your small business can run with the big boys.

The Zen of Content Marketing…

…is that it levels the playing field for YOU!

Thank you and Good luck,

I am Ryan Hanley

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  • I saved this in my inbox for a while – glad I did and spent time reading it today. Breaking down the meaning and history of “Content Marketing” was good, especially for someone like me who doesn’t know a lot of the lingo but wings it as I go.

    This is one of those posts that motivates me to keep pressing forward on my blog. I’ve had fruit before with it and more of the right time, right energy and of course, quality content will surely lead to more of the same. Thanks for the teaching, Ryan.

    • Jacob,

      Appreciate the feedback bro… Content Marketing is like pushing a snowball down a hill. It takes time to get going, but for those willing to coax the snowball on during the slow beginning get a huge ball of white awesomeness in the end.

      {that analogy didn’t work out as planned?} ha

      Hanley

  • Content marketing more than anything is considered as the marketing strategy of today. Not only does it address the need of businesses to acquire and maintain a hot consumer base, thus driving profits, it also fills the need of consumers for relevant and valuable information.

  • I love how you are really focusing on the content vs. trendy ways to push SEO, etc. content marketing is not about manipulating, it’s about quality and value. Thanks for posting more great stuff.

    • Brent,

      In the constantly evolving world of Internet Marketing I’ve decided to narrow my focus on this blog to Content Marketing. Social, Email, etc will play a much smaller role. I think Content Marketing is where success lies for us small business types and I want to be a more powerful resource in that space.

      Thanks dude

      Hanley

  • Fantastic post, Ryan. I really agree with your first point “Marketing has always been Content Marketing”, that’s so true when you really think about it. You actually have to have some sort of content to even market at all-it’s pretty much the basis of marketing in a nutshell. Thanks for sharing this post with over at BizSugar. You always share such insightful and useful content. I appreciate it!

    Ti
    A taste of Ti Roberts’s work: 4 Hidden Traffic Tips to Spike Your Traffic Stats

  • Hi Ryan Good post. I agree with all you say about the power of content marketing. I would however take issue with your assertion that it’s “more of the same” rather than a seismic shift in the market place. Yes businesses have always created content but it was of the “look at me, I’m great” type and it was “pushed” through via interruption marketing to reluctant customers. Now customers can cut off ads with Tivo, Foxtel IQ (in Australia) and internet television. Businesses now need to create content that is valued by their market. This is new and revolutionary thinking for most businesses who are still happy with an online “brochure” website that is essentially a “look at me, I’m great” tool.
    p.s. I’m enjoying your podcasts, especially the banjo!

    • Ray,

      That is a fantastic point and I didn’t touch on that specifically. I couldn’t agree with you more. Successful marketing in today’s business world are value creators and storytellers… Not interrupters.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts and I appreciate the feedback on the podcast.

      Hanley

  • Yeah who doesn’t want quality contents? of course none. Most clients really wanted to get what’s best and as much as possible, we offer them great and service.

  • Great explanation, Ryan. Every word rings true and I do think many get hung up on semantics and want to fight about the terminology of the day. Content Marketing is the de-facto term and it’s here to stay, for a while at least. And yes, Marketing has always been Content Marketing :) Now I’m trying to conjure up an image of a 60s era Don Draper type dealing with all that’s available to us today.
    A taste of Craig McBreen’s work: Do you want to be remembered? Do this.

  • The Zen of Content Marketing…

    Marketing has always been content marketing and content marketing levels the playing field for small business to compete with their larger competition……